In a previous post, I covered the basics of homeowners insurance. But what else does your insurance policy cover other than the house itself?
1. Outbuildings, landscaping and hardscaping.
Just because it's not attached to your house, doesn't mean it isn't covered (in some form) by your homeowners insurance policy. Outbuildings, such as barns and sheds, landscaping, or hardscaping, such as fences, can be covered by up to 10% of your policy amount. Sometimes, plants can even be covered by up to 5% of your policy amount. Follow up with your insurance company for more details as some of these might have exclusions for specific causes of the damage.
2. Damage or loss of personal belongings.
Your policy should also cover your family's belonging, even when you take them out of the house. A perfect example is a laptop or tablet. If you take it with you somewhere and it gets stolen, it is most likely covered by your homeowners policy. The policy will state if your belongings are insured for the replacement cost or cash value. Replacement cost means you will be paid the full cost to replace the item once you show a receipt. Cash value means you will be paid the amount the item would have been worth at the time it was stolen or destroyed. Subtle differences, but you should be aware of those.
While the policy does cover a large portion of your personal belongings, it doesn't cover everything. Expensive jewelry, furs or antiques require additional insurance policies for coverage.
3. Temporary living expenses.
This one is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. If your house is damaged to the point where you are unable to live in it, your homeowners insurance policy covers the cost of your living expenses such as hotel stays and meals until you're able to return to your home. Of course, there are limits to how long you can stay and how much you can spend, so don't shell out cash for the best suite at the best hotel in town before checking with your insurance company.
4. Injuries or accidents at your house.
This aspect of your homeowners insurance includes liability coverage. That means you are covered when you or your family members cause injuries or damage. It also covers things like medical bills after your dog or cat bites someone. Or, if you think you're being safe while hanging those Christmas lights but fall off the ladder. The injuries from that fall would be covered.
All four of things are covered in some respect by your homeowners insurance. I'd encourage everyone to get to know their policy before an accident happens. Being prepared can help with the entire process if and when something happens. Of course, we hope you never have to use your policy. And, be safe hanging those lights!